The Lambeth Redress Scheme pays compensation to people who were abused or lived in fear of being abused while in Lambeth’s care as children. The scheme is for those who lived in or visited a Lambeth children’s home (including those at Shirley Oaks) or attended Shirley Oaks Primary School.

At Lambeth Council, we know that many former children’s homes residents will never be able to forgive us for their childhood experiences.

We are truly sorry for what happened to children in our care in the past and the consequences for their adult lives. While we cannot right those wrongs, we want everyone who is eligible for compensation to get it.

If this applies to you, you can apply no matter how long ago the abuse or fear of abuse happened.

So far:

  • more than 1,600 people have applied
  • we’ve paid out more than £46 million in compensation
  • we have provided independent, free and confidential counselling and specialist advice to applicants

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 1 January 2022. Lambeth Councils’ Cabinet extended the Redress Scheme to the new closing date of 1 January 2022 at a formal cabinet meeting on Wednesday the 18th of September 2019. View information about the proposals that the cabinet discussed.

Sections on this page (click to view)

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Impact of coronavirus on the scheme

At present we are continuing to process all redress applications as normal and there is no current impact on the service. Should the situation change updated information will be provided on this page.

  • To ensure applications continue to progress smoothly during this period, and to protect applicants we have arranged for medical experts to offer medical appointments via video link rather than face to face meetings. For those applicants that require a medical assessment this option will be offered at the time, and the option of a face to face meeting is still available if both the applicant and the medical expert wish (subject to any further government restrictions on social distancing that may be imposed).

  • We recognise during this difficult period that some applicants may require access to funds before their Individual Redress application has been fully concluded and applicants can request an interim payment to be made against any Individual redress entitlement. Requests for interim payments will be considered on a case by case basis and applicants should contact either their legal representative or the redress team (if not legally represented) to request consideration of an interim payment.

  • Access to all of the non-financial advisory services such as housing, welfare benefits, further education and work, and the counselling service are all still available. Please bear in mind that the current situation will have an impact on what support can be provided (for example all educational establishments are closed), but the teams are available to provide advice where possible. When making a request for an advisory service, please be very specific about the support/advice needed in order to be directed to the appropriate team.

The restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID pandemic have affected our ability to deliver certain aspects of the non-financial support available as part of the Redress Scheme.

  • Letters of apology: We are currently unable to provide a hand signed version of apology letters, but will offer an electronic version of the letter whilst restrictions continue. We will of course provide a hand signed version once we are again able to do so.

  • Face to face meetings with senior members of the council: It is not currently possible to offer face to face meetings. However, we are able to offer meetings via video link. Alternatively applicants may choose to wait until a time in the future when it will be possible to again offer the meetings face to face.

  • Our Subject Access Team are continuing to process applications from people who wish to access their care records, however, there may be some delay in processing these or new requests. We will update anyone affected directly or via their appointed representative.

2. Getting help with your application

You can get help with making your application – for example, from a friend, relative, support group or solicitor.

3. Types of 'redress'

You can get different types of compensation and support through the scheme. These are called ‘redress’. The types of redress are listed below.

After you send us your application and we’ve checked that you are eligible for redress under scheme, we’ll contact you or your solicitor.

We’ll also ask you which of the non-financial types of redress you’d like – for example, a written apology. These types of redress are optional: you do not have to ask for them if you do not want them.

Harm’s Way Payment

The Harm’s Way Payment is a payment of between £1,000 and £10,000.

You can apply if you lived in fear of being abused, neglected or suffering cruelty while living in a Lambeth children’s home (including Shirley Oaks).

The amount of payment depends on how long you lived at the children’s home.

If you lived in one of the four homes for children with disabilities, you will get a Harm’s Way payment of £10,000 no matter how long you spent there.

Individual Redress Payment

The Individual Redress Payment is a payment of up to £125,000.

You can apply if you suffered abuse or psychological injury as a child while you:

  • lived in or visited a Lambeth children’s home (including those at Shirley Oaks)
  • attended Shirley Oaks Primary School

The amount of payment depends on:

  • how severe the abuse was
  • the harm it caused you
  • whether you’ll need to pay for any recommended medical or psychological treatment
  • whether you’ll need to pay for things like travelling to a medical assessment when making your application

You can apply for both payments

If you’re eligible, you can apply for both the Harm’s Way Payment and Individual Redress Payment. We would pay your Harm’s Way Payment first.

A written apology from Lambeth Council

We would like to apologise personally to everyone who suffered or feared harm in our children's homes. If you would like it, you can ask for a formal written apology from the council.

The apology will:

  • acknowledge what happened to you
  • accept that it was Lambeth Council’s fault
  • say what we’ve done to make sure it does not happen again

A meeting with someone senior from the council

You can also ask to meet with a senior person from Lambeth Council.

This is to give you the chance to tell the council in person what you think and feel about what happened to you.

It’s also a chance to hear what the council has to say about it.

Counselling

If you would like it there is free and confidential counselling available. Anyone who lived in or visited a Lambeth children’s home (including those at Shirley Oaks) or attended Shirley Oaks Primary School is eligible for counselling

Counselling involves a trained therapist listening to you. It can help you find ways to deal with emotional issues.

The counselling is personal to your needs and will be available close to where you live.

You can contact the redress team to arrange counselling at any time. The counselling will be arranged once the team has confirmed you are eligible for the scheme. You do not need to have completed an application to access it.

Specialist advice

You can also ask to get specialist advice, support and assistance to help you get access to:

  • housing
  • welfare benefits
  • further education
  • work

Housing advice under the Redress Scheme

Eligible applicants who need housing advice will be able to speak in person to a housing advice officer. You will be referred directly to someone who will be familiar with the Redress Scheme, and you will not have to explain to people that you have suffered abuse as a child. The level of assistance offered will depend on the nature of the query. Simple queries may only need a single conversation or signposting to other services, while other issues may require more casework. We will prioritise cases of homelessness and threat of homelessness.

We can advise on the following issues:

  • Your rights as a tenant, including being asked to leave by your landlord and rent arrears
  • What to do if you need to move because you are at risk of violence
  • What to do if you are homeless
  • Living in unsatisfactory housing, including serious disrepair and severe overcrowding.

What we cannot do:

  • The service is open to all eligible applicants, regardless of whether you currently live in Lambeth. However, there may be practical limitations on the assistance we can offer if do not live in Lambeth. You may therefore be advised to contact your local council who will have knowledge of local services that may be better able to assist.
  • We are unable to assist with complaints or challenges against other local authorities, or to ask another council or social housing landlord to provide you with housing. We are unable to assist council and housing association tenants with transfer applications.
  • We cannot provide legal advice. Although we can provide information on a wide range of housing issues, we are to unable to provide detailed legal advice or advocacy on issues such as court proceedings, tenancy assignment and succession, right to buy, leasehold issues, etc.
  • If you are a Lambeth Council secure tenant you will normally be referred to your Neighbourhood Housing Office.

4. What happens to your personal data

We treat all the information and personal data you give us as confidential.

This means we only use your information to deal with your application in these ways:

  • to make redress application decisions
  • to prevent fraud
  • to tell the Department of Work and Pensions that we have made a payment to you
  • to produce statistics and reports, for example, about the numbers of applicants or where they live - data is anonymised where possible

We will not pass on any information that you give us to any organisation except for the reasons above or if:

5. Why we set up the scheme

Lambeth Council set up the scheme because we want to take responsibility for the failure to adequately protect children in council care from the 1930s until the 1990s.

The scheme is the first of its kind in the country. We set it up after talking to abuse survivors and their legal advisors.

6. How the scheme is funded

The government has given us permission to borrow money to fund the costs of the scheme.

7. Making a complaint

We want to provide a good service to everyone that makes an application for redress but understand that things can occasionally go wrong. If this happens we want to know about it so that we can put it right and learn from our mistakes.

Some simple issues are best handled by contacting the person within the redress team that has been handling your application or by contacting the redress team at redress@lambeth.gov.uk. Most simple issues can be resolved quickly and easily by contacting us directly rather than through our complaints process which will take longer to respond to. If you have already contacted the redress team regarding your issue and this has not been resolved then you can make a complaint.

If you want to make a complaint about your experience of the redress process, you can submit a complaint to the council via our complaints pages.

If your complaint relates to a decision that has been communicated to you in relation to your redress application including the value of the Harm’s Way Payment or Individual Redress Payment that we offer you, you can make an appeal to the Independent Appeal Panel. For further details on how to appeal a decision on your redress application please refer to the information on our Appealing a decision page. You can also email us at redress@lambeth.gov.uk to request information on how to make an appeal.

If you are legally represented and are not satisfied with how your solicitor has handled your case you should firstly complain to your solicitor. All solicitors have a process for handling complaints and will advise you of this. For further information on complaints involving solicitors The Law Society website provides some further information including how to escalate a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.